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A Lot On My Plate


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︎Copyright Some Things I Like to Cook 2020

A Lot On My Plate

As part of my monthly newsletter, I will be sharing short interviews with friends and creatives who have a lot on their plate. 2020 has been a year of pivoting, side hustles and new ventures for lots of creatives and I want to check in and see how they're going, how it's treating them and what they're eating!

Interview #3 see's me catching up with Sally Tabart. Sally is a writer and producer and general multitasker. With a background in film, Sally brings a whole gamet of skills and experience to her current role as Managing Editor of The Design Files, where she has been cooridnating all of the content, contributors, writing and photography (plus lots of other things) for the past 3 years.

How has lockdown affected your working habits?

In both positive and negative ways.

Being locked down has made me realise how much of a homebody I am at heart. It’s been nice to be able to hang out a load of washing or start preparing for an extravagant dinner if I’m having writer’s block or just need a moment away from the computer, and not having to commute to/from work has been huge. I’ve also been exercising in my lunch breaks three or four days a week (previously I was getting up at 5.45am before work, which seems insane to me now). It has been amazing for the quality of my work in the afternoons and for my general sense of achievement and fulfilment on the bad days. In some ways I’ve found myself happier at work because I feel a lot more balanced – I have so much time in the mornings and evenings now. I can get pretty low sometimes about how much of our lives we are supposed to spend working, so having this extra time makes that all a bit easier to come to terms with.

But on the other hand, I’m really tired. I am so grateful to have a job that I truly love and can do from home, but it’s been really hard to have to constantly be reinventing, rescheduling, and rewriting as things change. We’ve put so much energy into new ideas that often become irrelevant or impossible overnight, and some days it feels like I don’t have that much left in the tank. Our output basically hasn’t changed, but the circumstances are so much more challenging. Luckily our whole team is really close and supportive of each other, so there’s a lot of space to just ride the waves as they come and be honest about how we’re feeling. I appreciate that a lot.

The old adage goes, some eat to live, others live to eat. Where would you place yourself?

I live to eat – there is no question about that! Especially during this time, eating and cooking together (I live with my boyfriend and another couple, our friends Fushia and Jack – we’re like a little family) has become a massive part of our daily lives. The ‘So who’s cooking dinner tonight?’ group message generally gets sent out before 11am at our house and it’s always so nice to come together at the end of the day, eat and laugh. I look forward to that time so much. Each weekend day generally revolves around A Meal, and it’s really nice to be able to care for each other by cooking good food.

Have you learned to cook anything new during lockdown?

Although I’m quite an intuitive cooker, I’m not that adventurous! I tend to go with the same things. I’ve been cooking heaps from Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s new book, A Year Of Simple Family Food. And also from your blog!! My boyfriend Jeremy hasn’t been working until recently, so he has been getting really experimental in the kitchen. I’m so proud of him because he had never cooked anything more than toast when we met, and these days his repertoire is SO impressive! He doesn’t bat an eyelid at those recipes I always put in the ‘too hard’ basket and is constantly making new things. A couple of recent highlights have been Larb Gai and Saag Paneer, everything made from scratch!

My housemate Fushia has become the galette queen – both sweet and savoury. Are galettes trendy right now?! She made an Asparagus version of your galette last night and it was incredible!

Where will be the first place you go to eat when things open back up?

On the first day of announcements for hospo opening back up my friends and I booked a big table at Old Palm Liquor which has literally been the ONLY restaurant I’ve been to in 2020, but it’s such a good place to go with a group and vibes are always high.

These are some of my favourite Melbourne foods that I miss dearly and cannot wait to eat:
- Whipped cod roe and fried bread at The Builder’s Arms
- Stracciatella, mushrooms, rosemary, potato focaccia at Carlton Wine Room
- Vodka pasta or tomato and anchovy pizza (sitting up at the bar) at Capitano
- Tofu with pâté bhan mi from N-Lee
- A glass of wine and a classy snack at Embla
- The complementary fried bread from Marion, and the lobster rolls!
- Oysters at Long Play
- Maccheroni Della Zia (mini meatballs, eggplant, Napoli sauce + basil) at Tiamo
- Rolled rice noodles at Lagoon Dining
- A bustling banquet meal at Yamato

Could you share with us some of the music that’s been getting you through the past few months?

There is literally never a waking moment in our house when we don’t have music playing! My boyfriend is a DJ and has hundreds of records so usually he gives us a bit of a performance on the weekends. Otherwise, these are some of the mixes and playlists I keep coming back to: (hover for links)

- Millu – For Home Use only
- Nnguzunguzu – The Perfect Lullaby
- Anu on NTS
- Danny Hotep on Hope Street Radio
- Brekstacy on Skylab (Friday mornings)
- The Breakfast Spread with Milo Eastwood on PBS (a true MVP for us)

- Work it @ home by Emma Cutri on soundcloud
- This mix my boyfriend made
- Sosupersam

- This ‘Take it easy bitch’ 4 hr Spotify playlist I made
- Mixed Fruit on NTS
- Born N Bread on NTS

What do you most look forward to when restrictions ease?

Although restrictions are easing, I’m starting to realise it’s still not going to be the same for a long time. I want to go to a house party and dance with 100 other sweaty people until sunrise. I want to have heaps of friends over for a wild dinner party. I want to jump in the car and decide to drive to the coast in the middle of winter, just to jump in the ocean for a few minutes.

One of my absolute favourite things about Melbourne is spontaneously deciding at 8.30pm to duck in somewhere and grab a glass of wine and a bowl of pasta, squeezing in shoulder-to-shoulder, always sitting up at the bar. I love that you can go to a restaurant every night of the week and it will pretty much always be bumping and bustling. It might be a while until we get these things back, but I am so committed to being here to help Melbourne rebuild – and it’s gonna feel so good when we get there.

Cute photo of Sally taken by her boyfriend Jeremy Barr.